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Closing in on exam day

Hey all, 

I’m writing this to find out how you guys are coping with revision, nerves, stress etc. I’ve been reading since January, and I’m through book 5 of 6. Once I get through everything, I plan to spend the rest of my time reading the summaries of chapters, and brutally tackling questions. 

The one thing I’ve encountered so far, is that my retention has been low, and it’s starting to scare me. 

I mean, when I’ve been studying, I’ve made sure I’ve understood thoroughly the topic at hand, every formula, etc, etc. Although, I’m struggling to remember things I covered a while back, and given the volume of the exam, I’m scared I’ll be having to do more catch up than planned over the next month or so. 

Anyways, feel free to share your thoughts. 


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That’s completely normal.  I passed Level I in December 2016, and a few months before the exam, I didn’t feel prepared at all.  Even though I had a background in the material, I felt overwhelmed because of the sheer amount of material.

The key is to buckle down and do lots of practice questions.  You want to get to the point that you feel confident in answering the 240 multiple-choice questions that will appear on exam day.  Don’t sweat it that you don’t remember everything.  There’s plenty of time left to learn.  And keep in mind that there’s a huge margin of error on the test.  Historically, the pass mark on Level I has been between 56%-63%.

Keep your head up: you have a great shot of passing if you stay focused!



Keith Lo
Product Manager at AdaptPrep

Hey Keith, 

Thank you so much for the swift and kind response. Apologies for the delay on my end, work and studies have been picking up. 

I really appreciate the advice you’ve provided, and it’s given me a peace at mind to the stress that’s been building over the past few months. I do have a few questions in regards to what you’ve written though:

I’ll be finishing all the material by the end of this month, how do you advise I spend the rest of my time? My current plan is to literally, go over the EOC summaries from the KS guides, just as an overview of the information, chapter by chapter, and then practice as many questions over and over as possible. Doing all of this, while of course understanding the reasoning/intuition behind my answer choices, and remembering all the formulas. 

Secondly, that’s a very low pass mark, do you think it’ll still be around the same amount this time round?

There’s no chance I’ll slow down, or take time off studying. Since January, I’ve been consistently revising for the same amount of hours per week. I’ll maintain this focus till the exam day, I just want to be as efficient as possible. 

Once again, I really do appreciate your response. Have a lovely weekend. 



I am in the same situation. Just finished the last book yesterday. Planning to review my notes and some more detailed stuff out of Schweser. As you mentioned, I feel like I am forgetting stuff at an alarming pace. I plan to do as many problems as possible. I am fine with conceptual questions. However, when it comes to stuff I need to know by heart, it gets a bit more challenging. Hopefully there is more conceptual questions than question where they only ask you to regurgitate whatever we’ve read in the text.

I heard the pass rate was between 65-70%. There seems to be consensus on this. 

How’s it going so far? I’m the exact same. I’m going to hopefully finish the last book by next weekend, and then plan to get down to the questions. What’ve you been covering over the past week? 

I think it’s a blend between formulaic and conceptual. I’m okay with both, but my biggest worry is the disparity in difficulty between the way the CFA will ask a question, and the way the KS guides have posed a question. 

I’ve got my CFA books, so I’ll be getting through the EOC questions first to make sure I’m on par with the difficulty, then the question bank, and then the mock exams… fingers crossed.

Do not fret, the volume can seem unbearable and impossible at times. Just keep plugging away, there are moments where suddenly something just clicks, even if its taken hours/days/weeks to understand before hand.

For all levels, repetition is key. You will fail this exam if you keep reading notes and passively approaching the syllabus. That I can assure you.

For level 1 - Q bank was the single most useful tool out there. You need to hammer through those questions and write out every single answer, whether right or wrong. Then you need to go over them again, to the point where you can answer these Q’s in your sleep. If there are some you still just dont get, then memorize the mechanics. Whilst in an ideal world you would want to try understand everything deeply, this exam is also a test of your effciency to get through hurdles. Sometimes it is better to just remember the mechanics and move onto better higher point areas.

For example, if alternatives is worth say 3% of level 1, just skim it. Learn basic rote memory defitions and calcs, then move on.

By May 1st you should be solely in mock mode. No more passive review, do as many mocks as you can and do not be disheartened by scores. These will improve as you loom in on game day.

Best of luck,



I am done with the readings. Since I have a bit of time I decided to go back to my Schweser notes and review content, re-doing some EOC if necessary. I am currently reviewing accounting. As mentioned by rexthedog, I will most likely start doing mocks in the first week of May. I absolutely want to do the CFA mocks under timed conditions. I want to do at least 3 Schweser mocks under timed conditions as well and just solve the questions for the other 3 mocks. 

I have toned down on procrastinating as I am now getting very close to panic mode. My retention is far lower than I’d like it to be. I am seriously reading things and thinking. When the hell did I do this? I am reviewing solely the highest weighted topics before I hit the mocks. I am simply watching Mark Meldrum’s videos and then doing the questions. Sometimes I go over the blue boxes. I am definitely feeling very pressed for time. If I pass this, going to approach level 2 VERY differently.

Hi RH,

Thank you for your reply in the other thread. Didn’t notice it until today.

My advice would be the opposite. Since you did read through the entire curriculum, relax a bit. A rule of thumb would be hitting the mocks a month before the test. Considering that the test was pushed back 3 weeks, you have until Mid-May.

The reason why this is important is because the burnout is real. It’s tough to retain a vast amount of info for the next two months. By the time the test comes, you will not only have forgotten some concepts, but will also be burnout from the entire ordeal. Around second week of May or mid-May, do a mock, review your correct answers, cover your weak areas (via EOCs or QBank). Rinse and repeat.

Also, just a heads up, CFAI EOCs and mock are really difficult. They’re way more difficult than the actual exam. So don’t use that to calibrate the difficulty of the actual exam. 

Sorry for the late reply guys. It’s been a busy week. Thank you guys so much for the advice and guidance you’ve provided. All of your words tend to be of similar context. 

Relax, practice the Q’s, and maintain the focus. 

I can comfortably say, I finished all the readings yesterday. I’ve decided to reward myself with a day off today, before getting back into things tomorrow. 

This is how I plan on tackling it from here on out. Firstly, doing the Qbank and the KS EOC Q’s till the 23rd of May. Then, spending a month doing mock exams on the daily. Committing extra time to the weekends too. 

I hope this is a strategy that works, and is one that will lead me to success. All I know is so far, despite what result I get, I’m not disappointed with my commitment or efforts towards this exam, so even if I do fail, I’ll be content with the outcome and accept it. 

Please, feel free to use this thread as a place to vent, or babble about any concerns. We’re all here to support each other. 

Side note for OS-28, I heard the CFAI EOCs are easier than the exam questions? That’s what has made me really nervous, as I do tend to get stuck on the CFAI EOCs. Ugh… 

RH. x